Long ago in a country far, far away, a lovely young princess needed toys to brighten her days ...
Well, actually it was the mid-60's in Orange County, California, and Lorraine Martinez (Candy's Mom) wanted to make some toys for her younger daughter, Dawn. Lorraine set out to make stuffed animals, but she really had no great interest in making them complex and three-dimensional and her sewing expertise was quite limited. The planned Clown or Snowman tended to become a strangely-shaped being with bizarrely attenuated extremities. Candy's father, Charlie, worked in the space program and he often brought home pins and patches relating to various missions. These mementos were sewn or pinned on to the distorted fabric homunculi, which were then dubbed "astronauts". It's worth noting that they generally had heads, and that it was a requirement that both feet point in the same direction.
Skipping ahead some years, Candy and Warren have become reasonably competent at costuming and general sewing thanks to the SCA, science fiction costuming, and other fringe hobbies. We happened upon a pattern for "Renaissance Cats", and since Lorraine was a cat lover, we thought we'd make these up as a gift. We were working on them when the family came for a visit, and Candy's mother observed, "No matter what you do, they'll turn out to be astronauts." We viewed that as a challenge, and dressed the cats in space suits. They were a great hit, and won a prize in the doll competition at Costume Con in 1991.
The astronaut cats were followed by belly-dance camels, bullfighter bulls, and nightmares (or Mares of the Night or Fillies de Joie). The only ones of these early dolls we still produce are the camels. We began selling at ConFrancisco in 1993 under the label "Volcano Works", sharing space with Dawn's business, "The Rakish Blade". The row of bellydance camels shows up well, with the astronaut cats standing above on the right and the Fillies de Joie barely visible above on the left (they had black patent leather hooves!).
We got better.